This list of gay actors who play straight characters is loosely ranked by fame and popularity. One of the great things about being an actor or public figure is you can play characters that are different from yourself. Several gay actors are famous for playing straight characters in film and on television. One gay actor is best known for playing a womanizing lawyer on a sitcom.
Who is the most famous gay actor who has played straight characters? Rosie O'Donnell tops our list. The A League of Their Own star publicly came out in 2002. She has since been a fierce advocate for gay rights, same-sex marriage, and gay adoption rights. She has played several straight characters including Betty Rubble in The Flintstones. Portia de Rossi married talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in 2008. She has played several straight characters including Lindsay Bluth Funke on Arrested Development.
Neil Patrick Harris plays the womanizing Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. Harris came out in 2006, saying, "I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." Other openly gay actors who play straight characters include Jim Parsons, Ricky Martin, and Elliot Page. Featuring Hollywood celebrities, movie stars, public figures, male celebs, and actresses, this list has them all.
Do you think that it is difficult for gay actors to play straight characters? How do you think the actors below performed?
- Photo: Tinseltown / Shutterstock
Actor Neil Patrick Harris is openly gay. He came out in 2006, saying, "I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love."
He and his husband, David Burtka, have a twin daughter and son.
From 2009-2014, Harris played notorious womanizer Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother."
- Age: 48
- Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America
- Credits: How I Met Your Mother, Starship Troopers, The Smurfs, The Muppets, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Photo: Goosefriend / via Flickr
John Mahoney does not speak publicly about his personal life, but it is widely believed that the actor is gay. He has played many straight characters in his career, including the twice-married Martin Crane on "Frasier."
- Age: Dec. at 77 (1940-2018)
- Birthplace: Bispham, Blackpool
- Credits: The Iron Giant, Frasier, Say Anything..., Moonstruck, Atlantis: The Lost Empire
- Photo: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock
"Glee" actress Jane Lynch is openly gay and a big supporter of gay rights. She played one half of a hilarious lesbian couple in the comedy Best in Show, but she has played several straight characters, including helpfully horny Paula in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Lynch was married to Lara Embry from 2010 to 2014.
- Age: 61
- Birthplace: Dolton, Illinois, United States of America
- Alternative Name: Jany Lynch
- Credits: Glee, Wreck-It Ralph, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models
The openly gay Welsh actor has played many straight characters. Most recently, Luke Evans starred as the narcissistic chauvinist Gaston in Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. Evans is also well known for his role as Owen Shaw in the Fast & Furious franchise where he played Michelle Rodriguez's boyfriend.
- Age: 42
- Birthplace: Aberbargoed, United Kingdom
- Credits: Dracula Untold, Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Raven